Dictionary of Welsh Biography

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GABE , RHYS THOMAS ( REES THOMAS GAPE ; 1880 - 1967 ), rugby player ;

b. 22 June 1880 in Llangennech, Carms. He played locally before representing Llanelli for the first time when he was 17 yrs. old. He won the first of his 24 caps ( 1901-08 ) on the wing against Ireland on 21 Mar. 1901 . It was as a centre that he gained fame. He possessed all the skills; he was unyielding in defence, when attacking he ran straight and with determination. Deceptive, firm and boney, he was difficult to tackle. In 1901 he began a teacher s’ training course at Borough Road College , London , and played for a period with London Welsh . After travelling to Australia with the British team in 1904 , he returned to be a teacher in Cardiff , and scored 51 tries in 115 games for the city's club before resigning in 1908 . He made a key contribution to the historic Welsh win (3-0) against the All Blacks in 1905 , and with Erith Gwyn Nicholls ( DWB , 685) , William (‘Willie’) Morris Llewellyn and Edward (‘E.T.’) Morgan (see below) he formed the most brilliant three-quarter line that ever played for Wales . He d. 15 Sept. 1967 at Cardiff .


  • W. Thomas , A century of Welsh rugby players (Birmingham, 1980) (1980) ;
  • David Smith and Gareth Williams , Fields of Praise. The official history of the Welsh Rugby Union 1881-1981 (Cardiff, 1980) (1980) ;
  • Western Mail and The Times , 18 Sept. 1967 .


Professor Gareth W. Williams, Aberystwyth

Published date: 2001